Thursday, January 13, 2011

Advanced Dungeons & Discourse

Dresden Codak's philosophy comic, Advanced Dungeons & Discourse

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Neuroscience Boot Camp

Brain Hammer reader, Martha Farah, sends the following (which looks pretty cool):

The University of Pennsylvania announces their 3rd annual Neuroscience Boot Camp, July 31-August 10!

Why Neuroscience Boot Camp? Neuroscience is increasingly relevant to a number of professions and academic disciplines beyond its traditional medical applications. Lawyers, educators, economists and businesspeople, as well as scholars of philosophy, sociology, applied ethics and policy, are incorporating the concepts and methods of neuroscience into their work. Indeed, for any field in which it is important to understand, predict or influence human behavior, neuroscience will play an increasing role.

The Penn Neuroscience Boot Camp gives participants a basic foundation in cognitive and affective neuroscience and equips them to be informed consumers of neuroscience research.

What happens at Neuroscience Boot Camp? Through a combination of lectures, break-out groups, panel discussions and laboratory visits, participants will gain an understanding of the methods of neuroscience and key findings on the cognitive and social-emotional functions of the brain, lifespan development and disorders of brain function. Each lecture will be followed by extensive Q&A. Break-out groups allow participants to delve more deeply into topics of relevance to their fields. Laboratory visits will include trips to an MRI scanner, an EEG/ERP lab, an animal neurophysiology lab, and a transcranial magnetic stimulation lab. Participants will also have access to an extensive online library of copyrighted materials selected for relevance to the Boot Camp, including classic and review articles and textbook chapters in cognitive and affective neuroscience and the applications of neuroscience to diverse fields. See for a daily blog post from our first Boot Camp.

Who should apply? College and university faculty, working professionals and graduate students are encouraged to apply. The only prerequisites are a grasp of basic statistics and at least a dim recollection of high school biology and physics. (A short set of readings will be made available prior to the Boot Camp to remind you about the essentials.)

More details: Participants will be housed on campus in air-conditioned apartment-style suites with private bedrooms. Sessions begin at 8:30 AM and end at 5:15. Breakfast and lunch will be eaten with the group; dinners are on your own. The academic program spans nine days, Monday, August 1st - Wednesday, August 10th with half of Saturday and all of Sunday off. There will be an opening reception on the evening of Sunday July 31st and a gala dinner on the last evening.

The cost of tuition, room and board is $4,500; limited scholarship support is available. Complete applications are due by midnight on February 1st. You will be notified of the status of your application by March 7th, and will have until April 1st to confirm attendance.

Visit for more information!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Color-Consciousness Conceptualism Published

My paper from last year's Consciousness Online conference, "Color-Consciousness Conceptualism," is forthcoming in an issue of Consciousness and Cognition and available at the publisher's website (and here, as corrected proofs).

Please cite this article in press as: Mandik, P. Color-consciousness conceptualism. Consciousness and Cognition (2011), doi:10.1016/j.concog.2010.11.010

I defend against a certain line of attack the view that the conscious contents of color experiences are exhausted by, or at least matched by, the concepts brought to bear in experience by the perceiver. The line of attack is an allegedly empirical argument against conceptualism—the Diachronic Indistinguishability Argument (DIA)—based on color pairs the members of which are too similar to be distinguished across a memory delay but are sufficiently distinct to be distinguished in simultaneous presentations. I sketch a model of a conceptualist view of conscious color perception that is immune to the DIA. One distinctive feature of the conceptualism on offer here is that it does not rely upon the widely discussed and widely criticized demonstrative-concepts strategy popularized by John McDowell and others. I offer empirical and philosophical considerations in my criticisms of the DIA and my sketch of my non-demonstrative conceptualism.

Keywords: Color; Concepts; Conceptualism; Nonconceptual content; Consciousness

Saturday, January 8, 2011

"Advances" in Brain Hate

Coming up with reasons why the brain is an irrelevant or uninteresting object in the study of humans doesn't seem to be a very productive research program. Here's more of the same-old same-old:

Tallis on Ramachandran: Book Review: The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human -

See also: Burge's Stone piece: "A Real Science of the Mind"